Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Southwell

I thought the action was sufficiently enticing to make a rare trip south to the land of the Bramley apple, where unsurprisingly many of the clientele were seedy and there was more than enough juice in the ground.

Laughter aside (who's laughing? - ed) the rain that lashed the course after the opener turned the ground softwards and plenty seemed to struggle on it. Therefore it could pay to forgive a few notable flops.

The first featured a handful of types you would rather bet against in most circumstances, with Tregaro running out a pretty easy winner in the end from the favourite Amuse Me who looked quite happy to allow the winner past on jumping the last.

Milgen Bay should have been fit after only five weeks off but he 's a gross sort who should thrive on racing, while Quito Du Tresor looked fit enough to run his race off a break and it remains to be seen if he can build on this fair effort.

I was quiet keen on Indian Stream in the four-runner novices chase and wasn't surprised that this big chasing sort attracted the cash.

She appeared to have hot favourite Lily Waugh to beat but the latter had already had seven outings over fences and just lacked the scope of the other horse, which showed in the latter stages as the hotpot tipped up when under pressure.

Indian Stream is bred to stay and I can see her winning again before being put away, and you can imagine the owners looking forward to breeding from her in time as she's a lovely individual.

The very likeable Indian Stream took the novice chase
The handicap hurdle was not my cup of tee but I was forced into laying the the well-backed favourite Significant Move, who promptly made it 0-13 over timber with a recalcitrant display. I'm not always right of course but he's a moderate mover at best and the money for this disappointing animal was baffling.

You could give a few some sort of chance and the two that fought out the finish ran as well as might have been expected, runner-up Stormbay Bomber slightly unfortunate to bump into and improving hurdler in Empty The Tank after the last.

Both are nice, tidy sorts who can be expected to go well again in similar grade.

The maiden hurdle was quite interesting but although you could have taken a number of angles I chose to sit it out. Epic Warrior drifted like a barge and is not straightforward, very fit if a little scrawny with ears back in the prelims.

However they couldn't get it off the bridle and the Pipe horse clearly relished the change in conditions. While you wouldn't want to knock the performance I'd be sceptical if rated at face value and he may be one to be wary of in higher grade.

Presenting Streak is a fine looking animal who should be capable of winning a stack of races. He had shown promise over shorter trips and although he will get three miles-plus in time he does run free in his races and today was no exception.

He was kept under wraps by two handlers beforehand but young Winks is not the most adept at settling a horse and one wonders how far this horse can go under such handling.

This son of Presenting may not have been favoured by the rain but he plugged on gamely and a race over something like 2m 6f round a Fontwell or Stratford could fall into his lap.

He was the clear paddock pick while at the opposite end of the spectrum Primo Capitano looked awful, sweating and generally ill at ease. Again the money came but he was never at the races and he should be left well alone for the time being.

Jimmy Shan was of interest over fences last year but he clearly had a hole in him and this was a better effort in third. This will have been merely a confidence-booster though as this big horse has a future over the larger obstacles.

Also of future interest to all who saw the race is Fearsome Fred, the only other one you could have given a chance to beforehand. He's a nice compact sort if a little on the small side and was pretty fit for this debut, and shaped with plenty of promise before fading up the straight.

He'll come on for it but may also benefit from a drop back to 2m 4f in the short term.

The big handicap hurdle was a tricky puzzle made all the harder by the effect of the rain, which almost certainly put paid to the chances of the fancied Brave Spartacus and Paolozzi.

Reveley was unable to attack from the front on the ground while the latter never got into the race, his hurdling lacking any fluency. The same could be said for Champagne Present who was deeply disappointing without the hood. He was certainly fit enough to land some decent bets - indeed they all looked in good order.

The brakes were firmly on heading into a bumper that saw B Ellison's Mahlerdramatic a well-backed jolly although a late drift looked ominous.

Certainly with the ground riding loose it was hard to predict the outcome and sure enough it was won by 14/1 shot Who You For, who got a bit warm but is a nice chasing type who clocked a decent figure in his Irish point.

Mahlerdramatic looked fit although he's a shell of a horse at present, while Junior Package doesn't appear to be blessed with much talent despite having Lady Cricket as her granddam.

The Bowen horse Miss Eyelash looked fat, while Christmas Twenty looked rather fractious and you'd have to think Golden Thread didn't handle the ground. He's worth another chance.

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